Nevada Casinos, Tavern Owners Urge State to Reject iGaming

Posted on: August 20, 2021, 12:08h. 

Last updated on: August 20, 2021, 02:24h.

Numerous Nevada casinos and tavern owners have made their opinions known when it comes to online gambling — they’re adamantly against it.

Nevada casino online gambling iGaming
Patrons at a watering hole in Nevada test their luck on the bar top gaming machines. Gaming executives are coming out in opposition to discussions regarding the state authorizing online casino gambling. (Image: KSNV)

Twenty-eight gaming executives signed a letter recently submitted to the respective chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) and Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), advising the state to tread cautiously when it comes to considering online gambling. From casinos on the Las Vegas Strip to small taverns with a smattering of gaming positions in rural parts of the state, the signatories all shared the common view that legal iGaming won’t be good for the state’s economy.

In your potential consideration of online gaming, we ask that you are deliberate in determining if online gaming is needed to grow Nevada’s economy, helpful to our local communities, and consistent with our long-established regulatory framework,” the letter states.

The NGCB in May postponed a planned regulatory workshop to discuss online gaming. The event was to also consider lifting the current requirement of sports bettors first establishing their mobile sportsbook wagering account in-person.

The Board opted to shelve the workshop until after the Nevada Legislature’s 2021 session ended in June. Though the three-member NGCB has yet to reschedule the session, gaming execs have taken the proactive step of presenting their stance.

iGaming Poaches Retail Play

The overall theme of the letter is that legal internet gambling and Nevada’s gaming industry — the largest and richest in the nation — simply wouldn’t mix. The signees point to other states that do have legal online slots and table games as not having nearly the same amount of brick-and-mortar gaming options.

Allowing gamblers who typically play at smaller locals’ casinos and taverns to bet online could lead to reduced retail revenue and subsequent job losses.

“Physical gaming locations are the economic engines of the state, employing over 430,000 Nevadans, supporting $19 billion in total wages, and paying almost $1.8 billion in industry-specific fees and taxes to both the state and local municipalities,” the letter argues. “Online gaming will take revenue away from our existing casino resorts and other gaming locations, which will result in the elimination of jobs that are no longer needed with less visitation to physical gaming properties.”

The job losses, the anti-iGaming advocates say, would create massive unemployment, as not only would fewer table game dealers and slot attendants be needed, but also fewer food and beverage servers, cooks, and dishwashers.

Nevada’s ‘Gold Standard’

The Nevada gaming companies and officials on the letter further opine that the state’s current gaming regulations — often referred to as the “gold standard” by states legalizing gambling — encourage investments and community involvement.

Nevada offers businesses restricted and non-restricted gaming licenses. Restricted permits are set aside for small enterprises, such as restaurants and bars, which are permitted to house up to 15 gaming positions. For a non-restricted permit, the facility must meet a slew of conditions, one being at least 200 hotel rooms.

“With online gaming, there is effectively NO limitation on where gaming activity occurs — it is only limited by the number of mobile phones in Nevada. This effectively puts non-restricted gaming activity in every household and business that otherwise have not been subject to the regulatory scrutiny of the NGCB and the NGC,” the letter concludes.

Notable signees:

  • Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III — Station Casinos
  • Michael Gaughan — South Point
  • Derek Stevens — Circa, D Las Vegas, Golden Gate
  • Blake Sartini — Golden Entertainment
  • Alex Meruelo – Sahara, Grand Sierra